My home is a sauna

Living here in the south can be miserable if you aren’t used to the heat. If you’re like me, only thirty seconds of being outside can have you sweating through your clothes. For many of us, the only escape is having excellent air conditioning in every house, business or enclosed space for that matter. Most of the time, my window box a/c does the job just fine and keeps my studio apartment pretty cool. Recently though, tragedy struck – literally, when a heavy tree branch came down during a thunderstorm, and tore my window a/c unit right out of the frame! Not only did it scare the daylights out of me, but I had a massive hole in my wall during a heavy downpour! I scrambled to find trash bags and quickly tape up the window as best as I could, but there was still a ton of water that came in. I resolved to wait until the morning to tend to this issue, and fell back asleep in my bed. My bad luck continued, as I woke up an hour later covered in sweat. The rain had stopped, and now my apartment was so hot and humid that I felt like I was in a sauna. Angry and exhausted, I climbed into my bathtub and turned on the shower, letting cool water rain down on me to lull me into a nap for about another hour. Finally, I got up, still tired but eager to fix my problems, and shut off the shower to dry off and assess the damage from the storm. Thankfully, the water damage wasn’t too bad, and once I removed the trash bags and opened other windows, the heat spaced out pretty quickly. Did I mention that all of this happened on a Saturday morning? I was angry that I had to spend my weekend – and my money – on a new window box unit, but I definitely wasn’t going to try and tough it out through another day of this heat.

HVAC

Here are some possible changes

When my son moved out to go to college, it was a bittersweet period for my wife and I. We were sad to see him move out, but we were pretty thrilled to have the house to ourselves! Despite the excitement, we wanted to keep tabs on him and make sure he wasn’t starving or walking around campus in filthy clothes. Several months after he moved, the college had a parent visitation day, and we got to come see our boy, meet his friends and so on. When we arrived at his dorm, we were happy to see it was clean and orderly – but we were horrified by the heat in the room! I asked him how long it’s been like that, and he told us it’s been that way since he moved in. Come on, why wouldn’t he say something to the school about that? Turns out, none of the dorm rooms have air conditioners, and the students were told to supply their own fans. What a disgrace. Despite my anger towards the school, I wanted to make sure my boy had what he needed to stay cool and comfortable in his home away from home. I had my wife walk around campus with him while I went to the local hardware store and picked up an evaporative cooler that was portable. I have one of these at home, and they are incredibly useful for keeping a small space cool without tearing through your energy bills. By the time I got back, I met my wife and son at the door of him dorm room. My son looked embarrassed to have his parents still trying to help him, but that’s a young adult for you. I told him I trusted him to set it up, and before we left to go back home, I saw him and his dorm mate reading through instructions to use it. Now when I call him, my son tells me how popular he is for having the “coolest” room in school. Corny joke, I know, but that’s what dads do.

air conditioner 

Renting out my home

The last vacation I went on, I decided to rent a house from someone. I’ve been told that people are not using hotels anymore. They simply rent online from the owner. This option is way cheaper.  All of my friends said it is a great deal. After trying this once, I will never do it again. I decided I wanted to get away from my hectic life and spend some private time in cottage in the woods. I chose a spot somewhere in the north, with a cute little cottage surrounded by a forest. When I first got settled, I was really delighted. It took a single day for me to become disenchanted with the little rental. While a cottage in the woods sounds peaceful and adorable, it was a nightmare. The main issue was the heating system. There was an old fashioned wood stove that provided the main heating. This meant I had to literally chop down trees if I wanted any heating. Since the north is snowy and bitter cold, the wood was wet. I would cut, drag and then be faced with wet wood. I didn’t know how fast a wood stove can cook through wood. It disappears super fast. I basically spent the whole vacation chopping and carrying wood. There was a single space heater  in the bedroom that was my salvation. If I could not deal with getting more wood, I would wear all sorts of layers and huddle by the space heater. What made me super angry was that the owner bragged about the quality heating in his cottage. What a load of lies that was. I have never heard of a wood burning stove being called a quality heater.

That is very tough

My boyfriend, Mark, is super handy.  Mark can handle wiring, hang a door or put up drywall like a champ.  Pretty much, any of those manly jobs are no problem. I told Mark to hide his talents from my family. My family is quick to beg for free favors and not quick to compensate the person who helps them out.  Mark is such a nice guy. He couldn’t help but provide assistance. My family has figured out that my boyfriend is knowledgeable in Heating and A/C. There seems to be no Heating or A/C challenge too tough for him.   He understands how the gas furnace operates and how an A/C system might malfunction all of a sudden. Taking advantage of things around the house, Mark can do the Heating and A/C repair quickly and cheaply. Word has spread throughout the family that I am dating a qualified Heating and A/C contractor. My mother has called him over to the house multiple times to check the inside of her gas furnace. My father had him cleaning out the condensate drain on the air conditioner just last week. My brother’s boiler is basically on life support and needs continual repairs. My sister is trying to convince Mark to install a new heat pump for her. I am not going to let my family get away with it.  They will either pay Mark for every Heating and A/C service, or they are banned from taking advantage of his skills. Mark is just too nice to ask for payment or say no to them, so I need to step up. My boyfriend should not provide my family free Heating and A/C service.

air conditioning tune-up 

Heating in the classrooms

I am a fourth grade teacher at a school located in a very small town.  The building is extremely old and somewhat outdated. Because we are in the northeastern part of the country, where the weather is typically cold and snowy, heating is the priority.  It is necessary to run the heating system in the school from the middle of September until sometime in April. The school is not even equipped with any type of cooling system. For heating, the school relies on a very large, ancient boiler which is linked to radiators in the various classrooms.  My current classroom is in the perfect location that we get just enough heat to keep the students and myself nice and warm. Although the radiator makes a tremendous amount of noise and smells sort of weird, my students and I never complain. We’ve all heard the horror stories of the other classrooms.  Those that are located the closest to the boiler are always terribly overheated and stuffy. The teachers are often forced to open the windows, even though it’s thirty degrees outside, just to cool their room down a bit. The kids frequently come down with headaches, sore throats, and bloody noses. The classrooms located the furthest from the boiler have the opposite problem.  They spend the whole day shivering because they don’t get enough heat. I know several of the teachers have smuggled small space heaters into their rooms. Although the space heaters are a violation of safety codes, they insist that the students are in more danger of freezing to death.

Skipping the furnace maintenance

The weather turned chilly as early as September this year.  We needed to quickly put away the patio furniture, barbecue grill and shut down the swimming pool. There was no opportunity to have the furnace serviced by a professional technician.  I was forced to start up the heating system, because the outside temperature was down in the thirties. I made sure to replace the air filter and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, when the furnace first cycled on, I immediately knew there were some minor problems.  The heated air smelled musty and there was a significant influx of dust. Plus, the furnace sounded louder than normal, with a bit of a rattle, and it seemed to struggle to keep up with demand. My monthly energy bill was definitely higher than I was accustomed to, so I knew the heating system was not operating efficiently.  By the middle of December, I had no choice but to call for heating repair. I should not have waited so long, because all of the local contractors were completely booked. I was unable to schedule appointment until the following month. The furnace was unable to make it that far. It quit in the middle of the night, during a blizzard, when the outside temperature was down to twelve degrees.  With such terrible weather conditions, it was necessary to call for emergency furnace repair and pay overtime charges. I was fortunate that the HVAC repairman had the necessary replacement part right on his truck and completed the service within a couple of hours. From now on, I will make furnace maintenance a priority in the fall.

furnace maintenance 

Sitting inside where it’s warm

Getting off from work is both fantastic in addition to not fantastic. I love that I have a ton of free time, no worries anymore in addition to freedom to do what I love to do. The problem is that because I worked so often, I have no things I like to do. I tried basketball, dancing in addition to fixing up the loft. I even tried putting in a mancave for myself. Nothing genuinely was making me happy to do it though. My newest craze is the closest I have to loving something. I have been looking at birds. I bought a whole ton of feed in addition to suet feeders. I have a special oriole device in addition to a hummingbird device as well. Then I bought a lot of books on birds in addition to their eating preferences. What I do is really rest in my dining room recliner with a set of binoculars. I adore it. I adore resting in a comfy chair in addition to totally kicking back. The greatest is that I can set my heater in addition to A/C unit the way I want it to. My sister still works, so for a few hours everyday, I get to think on the heating in addition to air. If I want the furnace up to 73 degrees or cooling to 53 degrees, nobody is there to shout at me. With my smart thermostat, I don’t even have to stand up in my chair to adjust the Heating in addition to A/C unit.

air conditioning equipment 

 

Shocking climate control

My friend Beth once a year adds another tattoo to her body. Every year Beth tries to convince me to get one. She thinks I will see the process and suddenly want one. They put tattoos on with needles. Also they are permanent. It is just not for me. However, last year I did go with Beth and support her. I have to say I was surprised by the tattoo shop. I pictured a real seedy place with dirty floors and dim lights. Tattoo parlors are way classier than I gave them credit for. Beth’s place was real clean and it had a ton of modern technology. There were brand new computers for making appointments and I even saw a ductless mini split on the wall. Ductless HVAC units are sweeping the market. They are way better than forced air since ductless HVAC tends to be cleaner. The ductless unit can be hooked with an air purifier to keep the air quality fresh. Also, ductless heating and cooling tends to be quieter. You don’t have to deal with the rattling ducts. Not only was the air quality cleaner, it was perfect. I expected no type of HVAC, or maybe too much. Tattoo parlors seem like a place that would blast AC like a doctor’s office. Instead I was pleasantly surprised by the perfect temperature control in the place. The cooling was just perfect. I was not freezing, but there was no chance I would get sweaty in the shop. I think that is just the perfect blend. So, if I ever did get a tattoo, I would get it at Beth’s place.

heating unit 

A new apartment without heat

The lease on my last apartment ran out in the middle of January.  I moved during the middle of a horrible winter blizzard. The outside temperature was down to fifteen below zero with extreme wind chill.  It was also snowing like crazy and there was a travel advisory in effect. It was not much fun driving a moving van over icy roads with zero visibility.  Plus, the heater in the moving van was not working properly, and I had trouble keeping the windshield defrosted. I had the heat shut off in the old apartment, and it was freezing cold.  I made a million trips between the apartment and the moving van, carrying all of my belongings down three flights of stairs. Bundled up in a wool coat, boots, hat and gloves because of the lack of heating and severe temperatures, I switched between shivering and sweating.  Once I arrived at the new apartment, I started the horrible process all over again. I carried all of my stuff up four flights of stairs to an apartment with no heat. Since I was leaving the door to the apartment wide open, I didn’t want to run the heater. My heated air would literally escaped right out into the hallway.  With the cost of operating the heater, I wasn’t willing to waste energy. It took me several hours to get everything situated. I then needed to return the moving van. Before I left, I cranked up the thermostat and heard the furnace kick in. By the time I got back, I expected the new apartment to be nice and warm. Instead, it was super chilly because the heating system was blasting cold air.  Although I fiddled with the controls, I couldn’t get it to switch to heating mode. I finally had to call the building supervisor for assistance.

heater installation 

Scheduling my furnace repair

I live way out in the middle of nowhere, and it’s just about impossible for repair or delivery services to find my house.  I like the quiet and my privacy. I’m happy that there’s no traffic on my road, no neighbors and no disruptions. My house is surrounded by acres of trees, and I have a spectacular view of a small lake.  However, last winter, when there was a problem with my furnace, my location was a definite drawback. As soon as I noticed that the heating system was running for much longer cycles, using more energy and making a lot more noise, I called for professional repair.  I knew that the local HVAC contractors would be reluctant to provide service so far away. I was prepared to pay extra for their time and effort. Since it was the middle of the winter, with temperatures down in the low thirties and constant snowfall, all of the HVAC contractors were extremely busy.  The earliest appointment was over ten days away. During that time, the operation of my furnace worsened. I was forced to bump up the thermostat several times, and yet the house felt chilly. The heating system ran constantly, but failed to keep up with the severe weather. I was relieved when the day of the appointment finally arrived.  With a window for service between 9 AM and 4 PM, I spent my entire day waiting for a technician who never showed up. When I called the HVAC company to complain, they informed me that the technician couldn’t find my house.

furnace repair